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Workers' strikes and public protests started in Colombia at the end of April against the so-called Sustainable Solidarity Law, a tax reform bill proposed by the Government. Trade unions warned it would lead to at least 1.5 million workers having to pay new taxes.
Since last month, Colombia’s Central Union of Workers (CUT) has announced a mass demonstration on Wednesday amid government efforts to end the national strikes and massive protests taking place in various cities.
"We call for next Wednesday, May 19, a major peaceful manifestation; everyone, go out into the streets, with our flag and the saucepan, in strict compliance with biosafety regulations," CUT said on Twitter on Sunday.
CUT announced in a separate tweet that it was calling to continue strikes and popular assemblies in solidarity with youth and social sectors.
Earlier, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) said to Sputnik correspondents on the ground that Colombian unions had prepared seven points that they wanted to be addressed at a new round of talks between the government and the National Unemployment Committee (CNP) on Sunday. The governmental commission led by President Ivan Duque held a meeting with CNP representatives earlier this month; however, no agreement was reached.
The workers' strikes and public protests started in Colombia at the end of April, against the so-called Sustainable Solidarity Law, a tax reform bill proposed by the government, which trade unions warned would lead to at least 1.5 million workers having to pay new taxes.
Duque said before the protests that the new tax initiative, which was expected to help raise around $6.8 billion (about 2 percent of Colombia's GDP), would significantly contribute to efforts to alleviate the adverse economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In early May, Duque, faced with massive nationwide protests, asked Congress to withdraw the draft tax reform and urgently discuss a new one. According to Colombia's human rights groups, about 50 people have died in the repression to quell the protests, including one police officer, while over 500 have been injured.
Colombia's Ministry of Defense has reported more than 430 detentions and more than 800 injuries, both amid law enforcement and protesters who have been demanding social and healthcare reforms as well as the demilitarization of cities. Demonstrators and international institutions have been drawing attention to the disproportionate use of force by the Colombian police.
#FromTheSouth News Bits | Repression continues against peaceful demonstrators in Colombia across several cities, while in the capital, Bogota, security forces have been using water tanks against protesters. pic.twitter.com/QeLC1AchTm